Celebrate the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of Advent
Our journey through Advent begins by watching, waiting and preparing for the Christ Child and the "HOPE" that He brings for the kind of world we all want to live in....
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9
Read the book The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
This is the story of a farmer and hi family. They plant Christmas trees to sell to their neighbors and friends and folks in the community. One day a poor family comes to the lot to look for one of the "free" trees for they have no means to pay for one. Their little girl spots the treasured tree in the center of the lot. This tree is not for sale because it is special to the family. The farmer and his family give the tree as a gift to the little girl and her family.
This story creates the perfect opportunity to talk with your children about the hope the baby in the manger brings for a better world with our help! We all need to experience the hope that the Christ Child brings. We need to watch and wait for Christ our hope.
Brainstorm with your class ways in which they can help others that are less fortunate then themselves or who for some reason may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Then take action and provide the means to accomplish one or more of their projects.
An exercise in waiting...
At the start of the school day suggest that you are going to teach religion first this morning and that the class will do a special project based on the lesson. Just as you are ready to start the lesson remember that you have to teach this new Math or Reading unit and tell the class they will have to wait for the religion lesson.
As recess or lunch get closer once again call the class together to that special religion lesson. Of course you are then going to remember that you have to get ready to go to recess or lunch and the lesson once more will have to wait.
Finally in the afternoon begin one more time to teach the religion lesson this time continue with the lesson uninterrupted. Ask the children questions like How did you feel when I kept changing my mind about the religion lesson? Were you angry? Happy? Disappointed? Was it hard to wait because I said that there would be a special project based on the lesson?
Use this time to explain Advent to the children. Define the word Advent for the children and talk about how a word that means coming is appropriate for this time of the year. Take a look at the color blue and how it symbolizes hope and the anticipation we have as we prepare to welcome the Savior.
Choose an activity to help your class wait.
Five Window Waiting Poster
Objective: The children will make a chart to help them count the weeks of waiting until the birth of the Christ Child.
Materials: 1 sheet of 12X18 inch blue construction paper with 5 "windows" cut into it for younger children or 5 "windows" printed for older children to cut out (per child), 1 sheet of 12X18 inch white construction paper (per child), crayons/markers/paint/Christmas cards, glue, and scissors.
- Cut out 3 sides of each of the 5 "windows."
- Write one word on each outside "window" Peace, Love, Joy , Hope) On the center "window" write the word Christmas.
- Glue blue sheet to the white sheet.
- Draw a picture or use pictures from Christmas cards to fill each of the windows at the conclusion of each lesson.
Advent Wreaths are another way to count the weeks until Christmas. Advent wreaths can be of many varieties from the traditional wreath of greens and candles to the less traditional of felt candles on banners where the greens are hand prints made with green paint and the flames attach with velcro.
Advent Calendars are a way of counting the days until Christmas. Many religious goods stores carry commercially made calendars that work great in the classroom. You may also want to create your own on your own using your daily calendar. This is a wonderful way to help the children experience the anticipation in waiting for the birth of their Savior.
Objective: To give the children a means by which they can count the days until Christmas in anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child.
Materials: 1 large box from an appliance such as a refrigerator or washing machine, red paint and paint brushes black permanent markers, old Christmas cards, and glue/glue sticks.
- Precut 24 small windows a they would appear in an apartment building and cut one large double door at the bottom.
- Paint the box red.
- Use the markers to write the numbers 1 - 24 on the windows and 25 on the door.
- Use the markers to draw line to make the building look like bricks.
- Choose Christmas cards that show the Christmas story. Cut them to fit the windows and glue them in.
- Choose a picture of the nativity to glue in behind door 25.
- Use the Advent apartment building to help you class prepare and wait for the coming of the Christ child by each day explaining how the picture behind the window relates to the story of Christmas.
Objective: This is a means whereby the children can count the weeks until Christmas by relating each week to symbols and words from their everyday lives.
Materials: 4 sturdy cardboard boxes that will stack one on top of the other, blue construction paper or paint and brushes, old magazines and Christmas cards, glue, and scissors.
- Let the children cover the boxes with construction paper or paint them blue.
- Cut letters to spell the words hope, love, joy and peace.
- Glue each word to one of the boxes.
- Use the magazine and cards to cut out pictures and words that tell about hope, love, joy and peace.